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Re: More mmcache concerns

On Thu, Jan 06, 2005 at 11:14:45AM +0000, Andrew Suffield wrote:
> On Wed, Jan 05, 2005 at 07:57:12PM -0800, Elizabeth Fong wrote:
> > Jonathan Oxer:
> > > The big question though (and this is where legal advice may be required)
> > > is what happens to copyright when the copyright owner ceases to exist?
> It is auctioned off by the liquidators, along with all other property
> of the defunct company. Somebody probably owns it. Probably somebody
> with no conception of what they own (things of little or no value are
> usually auctioned in large batches just to get rid of them). You'll
> also probably never find out who, unless it gets acquired by a
> litigation company (like SCO).
> In the unlikely event that nobody bought it, the details vary with
> jurisdiction. For example, in the UK, it would revert to the crown (I
> think).
> > > According to copyright law the copyright for works made "for hire"
> > > exists for 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the
> > > date of creation, whichever is shorter.
> > > It's considered "work for hire" so unless he had a
> > > contract with Turcksoft to the contrary he is *not* the copyright
> > > holder.
> > 
> > So... I guess the question is, what _can_ we do?
> Wait about a century for copyright to expire and hope that it doesn't
> get extended again.

Or convince someone (quite possibly the origional author) that it is worth
their time to re-implement it. Doing work for hire means you don't own that
copy, but it is in no way a prohibition against you making another copy on
your own time, even if it were to look almost completely identical.

That whole "origional authorship" defense, after all (which is why so many
companies use NDAs, non-compete agreements, the infamous "We own your
firstborn and any code you write on your own time" clause, and other such
to try to protect themselves from you writing a duplicate work in your own
time, at home, based on the experience you gained while they paid you to
develop it).

Whether it IS worth it or not... that's another question entirely. :)
Joel Aelwyn <fenton@debian.org>                                       ,''`.
                                                                     : :' :
                                                                     `. `'

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